I've given my 9 year old daughter an iPad for Christmas. I'm confused about how to set it up with regards to using my Apple ID, or creating a separate AppleID for her. I've read some things about Family Sharing, but it doesn't seem to address what I want to do.

What I'd really like is for her to be able to download anything she likes from iTunes or the App Store as long as it's free without any need for me to authorize the download. However, for anything that is not free, I want to be the one who authorizes this with some kind of approval/password.

Can anyone please tell me if this type of setup is possible and how to do it?


What I would do is create an Apple ID for her without a credit card, along with creating an Apple ID for yourself (hooked to a credit card).

Without a credit card, the only way to purchase something would be for her to:

  1. Have a gift card (you still couldn't control that spending)
  2. If she wants to buy something, she needs to come to you directly. You can go into iTunes (on your computer with your Apple ID with the credit card), find it in the store, and gift it to her:

    enter image description here

    She'll get an email that'll allow her to download the item.

If you want a less restrictive method, you can set up an allowance (look at bottom of page) that would allow her to spend a set amount of money every month.


As I know,children under 13 years old can't create an Apple ID on their own. Family Sharing is the best choice. Restrictions on an iOS device or Parental Controls on OS X and iTunes. Ask to Buy is enabled by default for children under 13

http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201084 http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201089

When a family member initiates a new purchase or free download, a request is sent to the organizer if Ask to Buy is on.This is a bit cumbersome, but very safe

  • Thanks Nelson. "Cumbersome" is the problem. It gets very tiresome being asked again and again to approve free downloads, when all I really want protection from is my daughter having access to potentially racking up unlimited sums on my credit card. I find it surprising that this type of arrangement isn't available through Apple in the same way as it is available through Google/Android. Is there not something I'm missing? – Dave Brooks Jan 4 '15 at 8:05
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    As the guardian not only to care about this App is free or not, but also to care about the content is suitable for a 9 years old kid, so "ask to buy" is still very necessary – nelson Jan 4 '15 at 8:13

I think this might work for you:

iOS: Understanding Restrictions (parental controls)

You can enable Restrictions, also known as parental controls, on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Restrictions stop you from using specific features and applications. Learn more about the types of Restrictions and how to enable or disable them on your device.


I'm really disappointed that this feature is not supported.

My kids are old enough to install free games.

Apple knows their date of birth - any app that is suitable for them, should be allowed.

Every time they want to install some game - I get a notification, I approve, it takes time.

I really wish it was possible to "auto-approve FREE apps that are suitable for minor age"

Same question posted on Apple forum: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7523746

  • The cost would be the least of my worries as a guardian or parent for a child under 18 but I get if you don’t want to be available when they expect to install an app. Any chance you can add a second guardian to help your children out? – bmike Nov 28 '20 at 21:44
  • Apple does the review process. Someone evaluates if the age on the app is accurate. if (child_age > app_age && app_free) { auto_approve() } – Mars Robertson Nov 29 '20 at 9:12

The Ask to Buy feature doesn’t contemplate this and requires a parent or guardian that’s 18 to approve each purchase for managed accounts. You don’t have to be the only “parent”, but one needs to approve each purchase currently.

The only alternative would be to cut the child loose from your family plan which may not suit your requirements to supervise their App Store experience.

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